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HomeBlogPhysical Activity and Telomere Length

Exercise is good for you. We know this. It decreases stress; improves mobility and endurance; lowers your risk of diabetes, hypertension, and cancer; and helps with weight loss. But does it help slow aging? The answer seems to be yes.

This was a study published in Preventive Medicine July 2017 entitled, “Physical activity and telomere length in U.S. men and women: An NHANES investigation.” They looked at 5,823 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

  • They looked at the quantitative polymerase chain reaction method to determine the telomere length of leukocytes.
  • Physical activity was indexed using self-reported frequency, intensity, and duration of participation in 62 physical activities.

What did they find?

  • Telomeres shortened 15.6 base pairs for each year of chronological age.
  • Physical activity was inversely related to telomere length after adjusting for covariables.
  • Telomere base differences between adults with high activity were 140, with moderate at 137 and low at 111.
  • Adults with high activity were estimated to have a biologic aging advantage of NINE years (140 divided by 15.6) over sedentary adults.
  • There was meaningful differences between high and low activity of 8.8 years and high vs. moderate activity of 7.1 years.


High activity has a measurable, tangible effect on aging.

The Science of Anti-Aging

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